Following their recent work on Mike Flanagan’s Oculus, The Newton Brothers return to the OST business with their soundtrack for Proxy, the new horror film by Zack Parker. Heralded as a modern Hitchcockian chiller, Proxy tells the story of pregnant mother Esther Woodhouse, who is randomly attacked by a sinister hooded figure. Joining a support group into which she is initially welcomed, Esther soon learns that her new friends are not all that they seem to be.
Proxy marks the fourth collaboration between Zack Parker and The Newton Brothers, who continue to artistically push one another in their refreshingly liberal relationship. Unlike other horror scores, which edge into electronics and drones, Proxy’s soundtrack relies on classical orchestral instrumentation, simultaneously misleading the audience and building character compassion.
The Newton Brothers certainly deliver what they set out to in their score, no more so than in the opening cue, “Prelude to Proxy.” Reveling in Hitchcockian strings, the piece is simultaneously moody and tragic, creepy and weighty. The simplistic string orchestration means that the music sounds as if it has been pulled from the epicenter of classic Hollywood, both lush and deeply unsettling in equal measures. The melody is surprisingly bare, pivoting around octave contrasts and sequential motifs. The prelude sets up the rest of the score with a bang, neatly creating a concise aural representation of the movie, and inviting the listener to discover more.
“Asphyxiophilia” is another triumph, producing melodic variation in its use of instrumentation. Again, the music is tempered by a deep sadness, which is manifested in the slow upper strings. As the piece expands harmonically, it journeys deeper into the chiller genre, hinting subtly at the offbeat undertones that construct the world of the movie. The piano is later used as a rhythmic device, adding a much needed sense of jeopardy to the piece. Heard only towards the end of the piece, it hints of something much more sinister, fading into the shadows before it has chance to fully reveal itself.
As a complete work, The Newton Brothers’ score for Proxy is incredibly effective and nostalgically classic. The strings are most certainly the star, somehow managing to balance angular, offbeat strains with heartfelt and tragic compassion. While not all of the cues are as memorable as others, there are enough good moments that those that don’t work as well can be overlooked. What The Newton Brothers have created is a classic, creepy score that nods to the old Hollywood masters. It’s sinister, thrilling and completely heartfelt, affecting the listener not only as a continuation of the film world, but also as a work in its own right.